Just over three years since entering commercial service, Airbus’ A350 XWB is flying high – with its A350-900 baseline version becoming an increasingly-common sight at airports around the globe, and the extended-fuselage A350-1000 variant positioned for a smooth start in its own operational career.
At the beginning of 2018, a total of 142 A350-900s had been delivered to a constantly growing customer base that already includes 17 airlines: Air Caraïbes, Air Mauritius, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Ethiopian Airlines, Finnair, French Blue, Hong Kong Airlines, LATAM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International (THAI) and Vietnam Airlines.
The twin-engine A350-900 has demonstrated an exceptional entry-to-service, evidenced by the fleet-wide dispatch reliability rate above 99.2% – which exceeds the level of reliability targeted by Airbus for this point in time. The jetliner also is delivering on its promises to reduce take-off and cabin noise and cut fuel burn by 25% compared to previous-generation widebody airliners.
Quiet on the outside, comfortable inside
In-service measurements show that the A350-900 has the quietest cabin of any twin-engine jetliner, while the aircraft also has demonstrated the dramatic fuel burn reduction announced, as well as great maturity. In addition, customer feedback indicates that passengers appreciate the innovative Airspace by Airbus cabin design and features – which provides the best in comfort, well-being and technology.
In a typical three-class cabin configuration, the A350-900 version in service today seats 325 passengers while the A350-1000, the largest member of the A350 XWB family, will accommodate 366 passengers. Both aircraft offer the same true long-range capability of 8,000 nm.
Thanks to an exceptionally-high level of airframe and systems commonality, the A350-900’s successful service entry portends a similarly strong start for the A350-1000.
A high-profile A350-1000 stopover before entry-in-service
The primary difference between the A350-900 and A350-1000 versions are the engines: the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 powerplant has played an important role in the -900’s fuel savings and dispatch reliability, as well as lower noise levels; and the Trent XWB-97 – also produced by Rolls-Royce – will offer the same for Airbus’ A350-1000.
With the A350-1000 certified in November 2017 by European and U.S. airworthiness authorities, Airbus is readying to deliver the world’s first aircraft to launch operator Qatar Airways shortly. Currently, an A350-1000 cabin-fitted flight test aircraft is undergoing a three-week demonstration tour and visiting customers in 12 destinations in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions – including a starring role at this week’s Singapore Airshow.